Vedic Hymns, Part II (SBE46), by Hermann Oldenberg , at sacred-texts.com
1 1. Thee who hidest thyself in secret like a thief with an animal 2 (which he has stolen)—who hadst harnessed 3 adoration and carriedst adoration—
2. The wise unanimously followed by thy foot-marks 1. All (gods) deserving worship (reverentially) sat down near thee.
3. The gods followed the laws of Rita. There was an encompassing as the heaven (encompasses) the earth 1.
4. In the lap, in the womb of Rita, the waters nourish the fine child with praise, him who is well born.
5. Like good fortune, like a broad abode, like the fertile hill 1, like the refreshing stream,
6. Like a racer urged forward in the race, like the rapids of the Sindhu 1—who can hold him back?
7. (He is) the kinsman of the rivers, as a brother of his sisters. He eats the forests as a king (eats, i. e. takes the wealth of) the rich 1.
8. When he has spread through the forests, driven by the wind, Agni shears the hair of the earth.
9. Sitting in the waters he hisses like a swan. (He is) most famous by his power of mind, he who belongs to the clans, awakening at dawn—
10. A performer of worship like Soma, the god born from Rita, like a young (?) 1 beast, far-extending, far-shining.
The authorship of the whole collection, I, 65–73, is ascribed to Parâsara Sâktya. These hymns are addressed exclusively to Agni. The greater part of them (65–70) is composed in the Virâg metre; comp. on this metre my Prolegomena, 95 seq. I have given there my reasons for considering that each verse consists of twenty, not of forty syllables.
This section ascribed to Parâsara has been treated of by Bollensen, Zeitschrift der D. Morg. Gesellschaft, XXII, 569 seq. No verse of these hymns composed in the metre Dvipadâ Virâg (I, 65–70) occurs in the other Samhitâs.
Note 1. Professor Max Müller proposes the following translation for verses 1 and 2: The wise (gods) together followed thee (Agni) when in hiding, by means of footsteps, as one follows a thief by the animal; they followed thee who accepts and carries adoration (to the gods). All the worshipful gods sat down (reverentially) near thee.
Note 2. There is no reason for reading with Bartholomae (Studien zur indogermanischen Sprachgeschichte, I, 48) pasvâ´n (gen. plur.) ná tâyúm.
Note 3. Ludwig proposes yuvânám, which is quite unnecessary.—See also Gaedicke, 173.
Note 1. We have here the well-known myth of the hidden Agni discovered by the gods. The 'wise ones,' (dhî´râh) are no doubt the searching gods, the same who are called yágatrâh in the last Pâda, and who are expressly designated as devâ´h in verse 3. Comp. Bergaigne, I, 110.
Note 1. Regarding the construction, see Gaedicke, 192.—Professor Max Müller's opinion on this phrase differs from
mine. He writes: 'I should prefer parîshti. But parishti seems to mean a running about, reconnoitring, searching. "There was searching on earth as in heaven," lit. earth, like heaven, was reconnoitring-ground.'
Note 1. Comp. VIII, 50, 2. giríh ná bhugmâ´. I believe that Boehtlingk-Roth, Bollensen, and Grassmann are right in correcting our passage accordingly; ranvâ´, prithvî´, sambhú follow the gender of the corresponding substantives, and the same may be expected here. Comp. Lanman, 530. The meaning is that Agni yields nourishment to all beings as a mountain fertilises the country by the waters which come down from it; comp. VIII, 49, 2. giréh iva prá rásâh asya pinvire dátrâni purubaógasah.
Note 1. Regarding the construction, comp. Gaedicke, 252 seq.; Bergaigne, Mélanges Renier, 95. Joh. Schmidt (Die Pluralbildungen der indogerm. Neutra, 305) and Ludwig (V, 524) are wrong in taking kshódah as a locative or as an instrumental respectively.
Note 1. Comp. Pischel-Geldner, Vedische Studien, I, p. xvi.
Note 1. Can sísvâ be the nominative of a stem sísvan which stands by the side of sísu as ríbhvan of ribhú? Prof. Max Müller proposes: 'Large like a cow with young, like a pregnant cow.'